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Low-wage countries' competition, reallocation across firms and the quality content of exports

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Author Info

  • Julien Martin

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

  • Isabelle Méjean

    (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, Ecole Polytechnique - Ecole Polytechnique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

Abstract

What is the impact of low-wage countries' competition on the quality of high-wage countries' exports? To answer this question, we develop a new method that uses firm-level data to measure quality changes in sectoral exports. Over 1995-2005, we measure a 11% increase in the mean quality of France's aggregate exports, driven by a reallocation of demand in favor of higher quality producers. The phenomenon is significantly more pronounced in markets where the penetration of developing countries has increased while it is negative where firms face increased competitive pressures from high-wage countries. These results are consistent with within-product specialization along the vertical dimension. They suggest that, over the period, France has specialized in the production of higher quality goods. In our data, around one fifth of the measured quality improvement in France's aggregate exports is attributable to low-wage countries' competition. In turn, its increasing specialization in higher quality goods has limited France's market share loss over the period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00962485.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00962485

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Related research

Keywords: Firm-Level Data ; Quality Heterogeneity ; Low-Wage Countries' Competition ; Within-product specialization;

References

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  1. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 1997. "Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 3-31, February.
  2. Justin Pierce & Peter Schott, 2009. "Concording U.S. Harmonized System Categories Over Time," Working Papers 09-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Hwang, Jason & Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "What You Export Matters," Working Paper Series rwp05-063, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  8. Aw, Bee Yan & Roberts, Mark J., 1986. "Measuring quality change in quota-constrained import markets: The Case of U.S. Footwear," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 45-60, August.
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  11. GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Price competition, quality and income disparities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -370, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  13. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  14. Pierre Biscourp & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Employment, Skill Structure and International Trade : Firm-level Evidence for France," Working Papers 2004-28, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  16. Sato, Kazuo, 1976. "The Ideal Log-Change Index Number," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(2), pages 223-28, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Giorgia Giovannetti & Marco Sanfilippo, 2012. "China’s competition and the export price strategies of developed countries," FIW Working Paper series 102, FIW.

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